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Defending OWS, To a Point

October 11, 2011

I’m a little more than a week away from the end of my sabbatical from work (and blogging, since I’ll have regular computer access again).  I’ve been following the conversation around the Occupy Wall Street gang, and I should say that they impacted my life.  Their Portland offshoot caused me to change some plans on the day they shut down the downtown traffic patterns, which kept me from going across town to do something.  Oh, well.

Honestly, I support the right of the OWS crowds to protest in any legal way they want.  I think it makes America great that any whack-job of any color (and I include myself in that) has the right to speak, and also the rights of the rest of us to not listen.  I do question some of the legal wranglings around permits, but even then I support civil disobedience as long as people are willing to take consequences of their actions.

As to what they have to say… they’re confused.  Then again, so was the Tea Party in some instances.  These people are mad, and they’re expressing their anger in a way that they hope gets change.  There have been several other movements on the Left that have tried to garner the momentum of the grass roots like the Tea Party.  Check out our buddy L-of-great-import for her observations on the Coffee Party, for instance.  This group is at least able to garner some news coverage and a bit of weirdly-misplaced conservative scorn.

Honestly, folks… you can make fun of the message, and there are plenty that have done that well.  Via MM, here’s a nice photo on the confusion of the message from Doug Ross.  But those who have called for the mob to be broken up?  I’m not there.  I’ll focus on how bad they are at actually attracting people to the message.

Or, better, I’ll point to others who do it so well.  Read Charles Cooke’s piece in NRO for instance:

…Time and time again, I hear the same old hope: If we would only listen, then the “bright beads and trinkets of capitalism” that prevent us from picking up shovels and revolting against the status quo would cease to serve as a hindrance to the (much-delayed) construction of a heaven on earth. (There is no acknowledgement that this flies directly in the face of the assertion that they speak for 99 percent of the country….) If you were to take the average Zuccotti Park squatter at face value, you would be forgiven for concluding that he was a an emissary of the people, in the mold of a John Adams or a Benjamin Franklin. The truth is less glamorous and much less significant. The people who are coming out to protest are the people who always come out to protest. And they don’t understand America much at all.

The protestors still haven’t figured out a real strategy for actually getting their message to resonate, and that’s the problem.  Sound and fury signifying nothing… that just opens one to derision, and any realistic chance of influencing the discussion goes away.

So protest away, folks.  I’ll be interested if you can get something coherent enough in place to actually make me believe you have something to say.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. ellend permalink
    October 15, 2011 10:27 am

    There is one area where the cooler heads of the OWS movement and the Tea Party can agree on. No more government bailouts of institutions that are “too big to fail”. What the OWS people don’t seem to recognize is that the practice is continuing. Cain is right, the march should go to Washington DC, not Wall Street.

    Many of the protesters are clueless – one argued for abolishing money because that makes people greedy and those people who believe the government should take care of them for doing nothing.

  2. October 12, 2011 8:35 am

    Good post. They’ll never work through their confusion. Confusion is the anarchist MO.

    • October 13, 2011 9:07 am

      Chaos sometimes generates a higher state or order, but it’s usually brief. I’ll give it a 50/50 shot that we watch these groups self-destruct on TV when they start arguing about inane rules for using the porta-potties.

      • October 13, 2011 10:08 pm

        And they always argue about inane rules, don’t they?
        I might write yet another post about OWS (they are fun to write, but do I need to?) It’s heading the way of Summer of Love which was more like Summer of Creep, and ruined San Francisco forever. Luckily it’s more like Indian Summer of Love. They’ll go away soon.

        • October 14, 2011 8:26 am

          It’s SF… they’ll find rent-controlled apartments and bug working people for decades.

        • ellend permalink
          October 14, 2011 8:57 am

          I don’t think the ones the unions are paying to stay will go away soon. What hypocrisy.

  3. October 11, 2011 3:15 pm

    Thanks Mista Fista. I do reckon some folks–move, and van jones, for ex, see this as a test of their own grassroots ability.

    For the most part, though, it seems like individuals without much concept of how our govt and financial systems really ought to work.

    The hypothetical question is, does this particular crowd have the potential to turn violent like the MSM so oft worried the Tea Parties would?

    I truly have no answer to that, having seen no crowds first hand, and only a few vid clips and photos. I take it your feeling is, this is unlikely.



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